7 Reasons to Ditch the No-Snow Blues in Burlington

Vermont's new winter look. Two thumbs up?
Vermont's new winter look. Two thumbs up? Patrick Freebern
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No, there is still no snow. Your newly waxed skis are so shiny they blind you each time you turn on the light in your mudroom, and your new snowboard set-up is actually growing cobwebs in the corner. You’re frustrated and confused. “This isn’t normal. What if there is no snow this year? What if there is no snow again, ever?”

'Tis the season for the no-snow blues in Burlington. Granted, the average snowfall at this point in time for the Burlington area is more than 20 inches according to the National Weather Service, and last year the city was sitting pretty with more than 30 inches of the white stuff. This year, not so much—only .2 inches have been recorded thus far. Take a deep breath and try not to panic each time the thermometer exceeds 40. It's not all bad.

Here are seven things to keep you positive about the lack of snow. Really, it’s going to be okay.

1. There’s no avalanche danger

You can still enjoy a scenic picnic on top of Mount Philo. Hopefully by January you'll be sledding down the auto road though.
You can still enjoy a scenic picnic on top of Mount Philo. Hopefully by January you'll be sledding down the auto road though. Justin Henry

Okay, so there’s not really much avalanche danger in the Northeast anyway, unless you find that sweet spot in Smugglers’ Notch or you’re out playing around in Tucks on Mount Washington in NH, but right now, it’s definitely nil. You can head into the backcountry with no fear of being buried beneath the snow. Slipping on leaf covered, slimy-wet tree roots is one of your biggest threats. Go hike Camel’s Hump , bask in the views from Mansfield , or enjoy a picnic at the top of Mount Philo .

2. More time to couch surf and ski elsewhere

Living vicariously through your Facebook feed, you get to see blower conditions in Tahoe. Skier jumps off a 24-story jump backward —old news. The snow envy caused by a relentless onslaught from your western friends gives you no choice. When there is no snow in the East, you do what every powder loving fiend does—you leave. Book that plane ticket to CA, CO, or anywhere other than here. Now all you have to do is wait. Sometimes the anticipation is the best part—that goes for waiting for a ski trip and for it to snow in Burlington.

3. Mountain biking and trail running conditions are still great

You may have to keep the fat tires in the shed, but stop pouting. There’s plenty of fun to be had on the trails, and the weather is perfect for riding running. In fact, the 20-mile network of trails at Saxon Hill  are still busy—there were 30 cars in the trailhead parking lot last weekend. Chances are you’ll probably bump into someone you know.

4. Screw first chair, sleep in

Diehards on the hunt for snow...or leaves.
Diehards on the hunt for snow...or leaves. Roger Klinger

Since there is no snow, there’s no reason to get up ridiculously early to beat the crowds and score first chair over the holiday vacation. You can sleep in. Most of the resorts are closed, minus a handful of places—Stowe, Smugglers’ Notch , and Jay— that are making miracle snow on a handful of runs. ( Hint: Most of the slopes are just frozen mud.) So forget “early” this vacation and sleep in. Really, you won’t be missing anything. Dawn Patrol at Denny’s anyone? If you are truly adamant about getting on skis this holiday season, try something new— ski in leaves !

5. You don’t have to listen to friends complain about being cold

Compared to last year, Burlington is sitting just under 10 degrees warmer on average in November and December. Last year, this was just the beginning of a brutally cold winter with multiple days in a row below zero. You couldn’t even go outside without suiting up in down, so be grateful that no one is complaining about the cold right now. Instead you get just the opposite, but at least you can sit outside for lunch and people-watch, right?

6. You can still wear sandals, without socks

Yes, you can still climb right now. In fact, new routes are going up all over VT as this is being written. And the Chacos, good no matter the time of year.
Yes, you can still climb right now. In fact, new routes are going up all over VT as this is being written. And the Chacos, good no matter the time of year. Suzanne Loring

You don’t have to hope that Santa will bring you new socks this year because you can still wear your favorite sport sandals without getting funny looks. Chacos in December, you say? Not bad.

7. More time to enjoy a local brew

Being in the state with the highest number of breweries per capita has its benefits. With all the new breweries downtown, you don’t even need to leave the city to get the good stuff. For ideas, check out Zero Gravity and Citizen Cider, or there’s always Heady Topper, Lawson’s, and Hill Farmstead. Cheers to winter. Cheers to snow. Cheers to a better mood.

The last bit of advice: you live in New England. If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute and it will change. Anyone have a favorite snow dance?

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